Women and young people most likely to be on zero hours contracts

The Office for National Statistics today released new zero hours contracts data. The data shows that women and young people are most affected by the contracts that do not guarantee any hours in a given week:

  • Women make up 58 per cent of those on zero hours contracts
  • 34 per cent of workers with no guaranteed hours are aged 16 to 24 – the largest age group

Commenting, Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said: “Zero-hours contracts, many of which exploit young women, are used far too often.

“Young Women’s Trust research shows that women are far more likely to be in insecure work, find it harder to make their cash last to the end of the month and are more likely to have poor mental health as a result. Budgeting, paying your bills and planning ahead can be impossible when you don’t know how many hours you will be working or how much money you will have coming in each month. For some, an inability to balance precarious shifts with childcare can make working impossible.

“Flexible working has to benefit the employee, not just the employer. Providing stable, secure jobs would not only help workers, but businesses and the economy too.”

Jenny Mullinder, 25, Ealing, spent her university summers on zero hours contracts. She says, “I was on zero hours contracts during the summer at university as I didn’t have any family to go back to or financial support from anyone else. It was so stressful. I was always waiting for money to be able to afford food, or trying to put away enough for bills without knowing how much I’d get the next week. I wouldn’t do it again unless I had no choice because I was always anxious. I couldn’t really go places or plan stuff in advance as I didn’t know if they’d offer me work, which I needed to take, and a lot of the time didn’t have much food either.”

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